Introduction to Biotechnology

8 Lessons


Biotechnology is the use of an organism, or a component of an organism or other biological systems, to make a product or process. Many forms of modern biotechnology rely on DNA technology. DNA technology is the sequencing, analysis, and cutting-and-pasting of DNA.

Common forms of DNA technology include DNA sequencing, polymerase chain reaction, DNA cloning, and gel electrophoresis. Biotechnology inventions can raise new practical concerns and ethical questions that must be addressed with informed input from all of society.

There are many applications of biotechnology. It is used in the production of products we see in everyday life, such as alcohol and penicillin. It can also be used to develop new medical treatments, such as the gene therapy treatment for cystic fibrosis. Biotechnology has additional applications in areas such as food production and the remediation (cleanup) of environmental pollution.

DNA technology is important to both basic and applied (practical) biology. For instance, a technique used to make many copies of a DNA sequence, called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), is used in many medical diagnostic tests and forensic applications as well as in basic laboratory research.

Recent biotechnology develops breakthrough products and technologies to fight diseases, reduce our environmental harm, feed the hungry, use less and cleaner energy, and have safer, cleaner, and more efficient industrial manufacturing processes.